COVID-19 has also amplified the need for strategic investments to be made to help grow our economy. Small businesses need better technological infrastructure to connect businesses with staff and customers regardless of where they live. In fact, almost 60 per cent of the province’s small business owners agree that their business needs better internet service in their area. For more information on why better internet service is critical to Saskatchewan’s economic recovery, read CFIB’s Transformation of Canada’s Small Businesses Series Report #1: Connecting with Customers During the Pandemic.
Furthermore, a strong majority (89%) of small business owners agree the provincial government should increase spending on crime prevention across Saskatchewan. It is clear that reduced crime and safe communities is also needed to help ensure our businesses can grow after the pandemic.
Our recommendations for how the next provincial government can spend sustainably, include:
- Limit annual spending increases to rate of GDP growth;
- Reduce the size of Executive government through workforce attrition by another 5 per cent over next 4 years;
- Require Crown Corporations and non front-line components of Third Party entities to implement a 10 per cent reduction in their size through workforce attrition over the next four years;
- Narrow wages/benefits disparity (19%) between public and private sector employees for Executive government, Crown Corporations and major Third Party entities;
- Eliminate the banking of sick days in the public sector and introduce affordable short-term disability plans for public sector workers to better align sick leave provisions with those of the private sector. Currently, provincial government employees in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia cannot bank sick days;
- Reduce accrued employee leave entitlements and reduce the provisions of compensated absences in employment agreements and collective bargaining agreements in the future;
- Improve access to high-speed internet across the province; and
- Increase annual spending on crime prevention across the province.